Representing Injured Ballenger Creek Center Residents Seeking Monetary Compensation
The state of Maryland and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) make unannounced visits to every nursing home statewide at least twice each year to perform surveys, inspections, and investigations. Their efforts help to quickly identify serious concerns, violations, and deficiencies that could affect the health of one or more residents.
Nursing homes found to have egregious problems are often designated as a Special Focus Facility (SFF) and placed on a national Medicare watch list. The surveyors and investigators typically conduct unannounced inspections or show up unexpectedly to investigate a complaint filed by a resident, employee, family member or visitor.
This undesirable designation alerts the nursing facility that they must make improvements promptly or face serious ramifications. These consequences could include losing their contract with Medicare and Medicaid to provide care to state or federal funded patients.
Recently, the state of Maryland and the federal government designated Ballenger Creek Center a Special Focus Facility due to the substandard level of care their residents receive. Since the initial designation, the facility remains on the list due to a lack of identifiable improvements that are necessary to assure government nursing home regulators that the positive changes are permanent.
Ballenger Creek Center
This Long-Term Care Center is a 143-certified bed “for profit” Home providing services and cares to residents of Frederick and Frederick County, Maryland. The Facility is located at:
347 Ballenger Dr.
Frederick, MD 21701
This Genesis-operated nursing center provides round-the-clock skilled nursing care along with:
- Transitional care
- Physical, occupational and speech therapies
- Rehabilitation therapy
- Respite care
- Hospice care
- Pulmonary care
- Cardiac management program
- Colostomy care
- IV therapies
- Orthopedic rehabilitation including amputation, joint replacement and injuries
- Wound care
- Podiatry care
- Dementia care
- Colostomy care
- Psychiatric services
- Wound care
More than $624,000 in Penalties
Federal and state nursing home regulatory agencies issue monetary penalties as an effective way to ensure immediate corrective changes are made to improve the level of care a facility provides its residents. On August 2, 2016, Ballenger Creek Center received a fine of $624,658.
Current Nursing Home Resident Safety Concerns
Both the State of Maryland and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services update information on Medicare.gov website to reflect current data gathered during scheduled surveys and unannounced investigations of every nursing home statewide. Many families use the star rating summary system and detailed information to compare the level of care each facility provides in their local community.
Currently, Ballenger Creek Center maintains a below average two out of five stars overall rating compared all other facilities in the US. This ranking includes one out of five stars for health inspections, three out of five stars for staffing, and five out of five stars for quality measures.
Some serious concerns about dangerous hazards, filed complaints, opened investigations, incident inquiries and health violations concerning this facility are listed below.
- Failure to Ensure That All Residents Are Free from Abuse by the Nursing Staff
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 21, 2017, the state surveyor noted that the facility had failed to “ensure that a resident was free of verbal abuse while in the care of a Licensed Practical Nurse.” Documented evidence at the facility reveals that “on May 13, 2017 [the resident] requested pain medication from [a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)] at 7:50 AM.”
According to a witness statement provided by the facility dated September 19, 2017 [the Registered Nurse (RN)] was present when the [LPN told the resident] that they could not have their medication until 8:00 AM. The statement continued [claiming that the resident] became angry and the [LPN] became angry and called [the resident] an imbecile. This incident was also witnessed by a visitor who described the incident to the Nursing Home Administrator on May 14, 2017.”
The witnessing visitor stated that the LPN threateningly lunged at the resident “and used curse words.” Documents at the nursing home reveal that the LPN “no longer works at the facility.”
- Failure to Immediately Notify Resident, the Resident’s Doctor or a Family Member of a Change in the Resident’s Condition
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 21, 2017, the state investigator noted the facility’s failure “to notify the physician and dietitian of a significant weight gain.” This deficiency involved one resident at the facility who “was reviewed for nutrition.”
During the survey, the investigator noted after a review of weights for a resident that “on August 9, 2017, the resident weight 116 pounds. The next week, on August 16, 2017, the documented weight was 123 pounds, which was a 7-pound weight gain (7%) in one week.” It was also recorded that the following week “on August 23, 2017, the resident’s documented weight was 128 pounds, which was a 5-pound weight gain in one week and a 12-pound weight gain (11%) in two weeks. There was no physician notification found in the medical record of a significant weight gain.”
The facility’s Certified Register Nurse Practitioner saw the resident on September 6, 2017 “for follow-up for weight gain.” The practitioner “documented the resident had gained 15 pounds over the last month and, therefore, was started on [a medication regimen] 40 mg every day due to [their medical condition that was causing swelling] to the lower extremities.” However, there was a “failure to notify the physician immediately of a significant weight gain delayed the treatment of [the resident’s medical condition].
Documents reveal that the resident “was followed by a cardiologist for a leaky heart” according to the spouse and the Progress Note documented on September 6, 2017, by the Certified Register Nurse Practitioner.” In an interview on the morning of September 21, 2017, the facility’s Director of Nursing “confirmed there was no physician or dietitian notification” as required by law.
- Failure to Revise a Resident’s Plan of Care concerning a Healing Wound an Antidepressant Medication
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 21, 2017, the state investigator determined that the facility had “failed to revise a resident’s Plan of Care related to an antidepressant medication and a healed wound.” Documents reveal that the resident “had been on an antidepressant medication until September 17, 2016.” The resident’s physician discontinued the medication “on September 17, 2016.”
A review of the resident’s Care Plans detected that it had not been revised “at least quarterly” according to law. This deficiency was confirmed by the Director of Nursing and the morning of September 21, 2017, who stated, “that the Care Plan had not been revised.”
- Failure to Provide Adequate Professional Staff to Care for Every Resident That Maximizes Their Well-Being
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 21, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility “failed to have sufficient nursing staff to meet the needs of the residents.” This deficiency included a failure “to shower and bathe residents per schedule, and [a failure] to answer call bells timely when residents need to use the restroom or request pain medication.” The state investigator noted that this deficiency was “evident in [all] five of the five nursing units.”
A responsible party member for resident was interviewed on September 19, 2017. The party stated that they “did not think [the resident] was getting showers regularly, because at times, the resident appeared dirty when the responsible party visited, and that a family member gave [the resident] a shower during a recent visit.” It was noted that the facility’s Shower List reviewed on September 21, 2017, indicated that the resident “was scheduled for a shower twice a week during the 11/7 shift. Review of the resident’s bathing documentation for all shifts [for August] indicated the resident received [just] two showers in 31 days.”
- Failure to Develop, Implement and Enforce Programs and Investigate, Control and Keep Infection from Spreading
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated September 21, 2017, the state surveyor noted that the facility staff “failed to follow infection control practices and guidelines.” This deficiency was evidenced “by failing to keep a urinary catheter bag directly off the floor, and failing to properly store and label resident care equipment in a manner to prevent development and transmission of disease and infection.”
In one incident, an observation was made of a “resident …lying in bed. At the time, the resident’s full catheter drainage bag was in a bag cover and lying on the floor under the bed.” The surveyor noted that “according to the government agency, the CDC (Centers for Disease Controlling Prevention) this device is [to never be] placed on the floor, due to the risk of bacterial infection.”
- Failure of the Nursing Staff to Identify an Advanced Directive of the Resident on Whether to You CPR during an Emergency
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated April 13, 2017, the state investigator noted that the facility staff “failed to clearly identify that a resident was a Full Code or a No Code on the state MOLST [Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment] form.” This deficiency was identified during a review involving “a complaint survey.”
- Failure to Notify the Attending Physician Promptly of the Results of X-Rays and Other Tests
In a summary statement of deficiencies dated April 13, 2017, the state surveyor noted that the facility staff “failed to timely notify of resident’s physician of an electrocardiogram (ECG) result.” The resident had undergone surgery on April 22, 2016, and had an ECG performed on April 15, 2016, where a copy was left in the resident’s medical record.
The state surveyor interviewed the resident’s physician on April 13, 2017. The physician stated that they “did not call the nursing staff making [them] aware of [the resident’s] April 15, 2016, ECG [that] had been obtained, and the result was in the resident’s medical record.” The resident’s doctor stated that had they reviewed the documents, they would have signed “both documents. The facility nurse staff must promptly notify a resident’s physician of a diagnostic result.”
Ready to File a Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Compensation Claim?
If you, or your loved one, were injured by abuse, neglect, or mistreatment while residing in a Maryland nursing facility, like Ballenger Creek Center, hiring an attorney to file a compensation claim could help you obtain monetary recovery for damages. With legal representation, you can be assured that all the correct documents and paperwork or filed in the appropriate courthouse before the Maryland statute of limitations expires.
These cases are typically handled through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement allows you to have access to legal counsel and advice without paying any upfront fees. Your Maryland nursing home abuse attorney services are paid after filing your claim, building your case and presenting evidence in court at a jury trial or after negotiating your out of court settlement.
For information on local facilities and attorneys who have experience prosecuting nursing home abuse matters, please refer to the pages below:
- Ellicott City
- Glen Burnie
- Silver Spring